Daily Archives: June 6, 2012

None the worse for wear

Yesterday we did most of the prep work to get this Acura painted today. The first picture shows the bumpers, both front and rear, after being painted.

The second picture shows the Acura sanded to rough up the paint so the new paint has something to sink its teeth into for good adhesion.

The third picture has the sealer applied. Sealer is used to, oddly enough, seal the surface below it and provide a consistent base for the paint that follows. Sealer comes in seven shades of gray, from nearly white to almost black. The specific shade of gray is specified by the color of the base coat. Lighter colors generally call for lighter sealers, darker colors usually have dark sealers. The sealer shown in the photo is skewed to the darker side.

After the sealer comes the base coat, the actual color of an automobile finish. Because this is a two stage paint finish, the base coat dries nearly flat, as you can see in the fourth picture.

Years ago single stage paints, generally lacquer paints, dried to their brilliant finish in one pass. You sprayed the paint on and when it was dry, it could be polished to a brilliant and luxurious finish. The problem is, the lacquer paint was easily damaged. That lack of durability has led to their near universal replacement by today’s modern two stage urethane enamel paints.

Two stage paints work a little differently. The paint is actually applied in two steps, or stages. The first stage is the base coat. As I said before, this is the color. But the real magic happens in the second stage, the clear coat.

As you can see in the last two pictures, numbers five and six, the clear coat transforms the dull, drab, base coat with an explosion of depth, clarity and gloss. It is the clear coat that brings the color alive and injects it with a vibrancy that is every bit as good as the best lacquer paints, but with none of the durability problems.

After the clear coat dries over night we will strip off all the masking and start putting the bumpers, door handles and other trim bits back on the car. Then this car will be ready to go home, without the bumps, bruises and skinned places it has suffered … none the worse for wear.

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